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-   -   My walls are cold! (http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f106/my-walls-cold-13555/)

strategery 03-11-2012 01:41 AM

My walls are cold!
 
I have a 1919 house in the midwest. I have a fair amount of attic insulation, about R-30-ish and some insulation in the exterior walls (plugs in the siding proves it). I think there's some voids in the wall insulation because some spots are colder than others.

What are my best options here? I'm eventually going to have new siding put on, but I don't know if I'm ready for that expense yet. I realize spray foam is expensive, but it might be the only way to make the walls less cold and the house more comfortable without new siding.

Question: would increasing my attic insulation to R-60 help keep the walls warmer? Would it be better to do that first? The expense for blowing in cellulose in my attic would be much cheaper and if I did it myself I think I could do it for less than $500.

Square footage of my house isn't big. It's about 1200 and it's a one story.

oldognewtrick 03-11-2012 06:05 AM

If you have access to the attic or the area under the house, get a couple cans of spray foam and seal all the areas where wires, plumbing are run up through the floor and ceilings. What you want to do is stop moving air. Then go around the exterior and caulk any place, windows, doors, service panels where you could have air intrusion.

If you plan on installing new siding soon, make sure that a good house wrap is installed and that the seams are tapped at the laps and also around the window and door openings.

Dionysia 03-11-2012 10:41 AM

Also the framing on a 1919 house is such that the blown insulation probably couldn't fill all the voids, especially around windows and in corners due to cross-bracing within the framework. Check your cold spots against the plugs outside, and if there are no plug holes in the immediate area, there is probably no insulation. Blown cellulose is really easy to install as a DIY and doesn't really cost much either. You could just add some insulation to the cold spot areas and see if it helps.

paul52446m 03-11-2012 11:01 AM

In most old homes you would have to have plugs hi and low because they put draft stops half way up the walls. Paul

strategery 03-11-2012 07:07 PM

I've already paid to have my attic and rim joists air sealed. The penetrations through the ceiling should be already sealed. I don't know how leaky the house is now, but my gas bill has been slashed by about 50% from last year. Of course, some of that has to do with the mild winter.

Would spray foam be a good insulation option for the exterior walls even though there's already blown insulation in there?

Perry525 03-18-2012 02:50 PM

Buy a infrared temperature gun from Amazon.
With this you can hold the trigger and point it at any surface and it will tell you its temperature.
You can scan the walls from both the inside and outside, and see where your heat is escaping.
you can even stand in the yard and see where the heat is escaping from your roof.
A wonderful little gadget.

joecaption 03-19-2012 07:47 AM

You can not go back and add foam in a wall already filled with blown insulation. Just no room for it in the wall.

Perry525 03-19-2012 12:07 PM

[QUOTE=strategery;70127]I have a 1919 house in the midwest. I have a fair amount of attic insulation, about R-30-ish and some insulation in the exterior walls (plugs in the siding proves it). I think there's some voids in the wall insulation because some spots are colder than others.
==========================================
As noted above a infrared temperature gun will enable you to identify those cold spots.

However, you must take into consideration that over 25% of your walls are solid wood, and these sticks in contact with your warm air on one side and the cold outside air on the other, conduct your expensive heat out to the sky.

The only way to stop this heat escaping is to line either the inside or the outside of the entire wall with sheet polystyrene, (polystyrene is both wind and water proof) this will stop your heat loss.
A carefully installed layer of one inch polystyrene with no gaps will save a lot of your heat escaping, a thicker layer will save more, up to 10 inches thick will show a lessening improvement, over 10 and you cannot measure it.


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